Your Prototype Is the Most Important Step in PCB Manufacturing
You have a vision for your product. Whether you’re innovating in the aerospace industry or revolutionizing the way runners train for upcoming races, you likely have a clear idea of what you want the final product to do and even look like.
Unless you have extensive product development experience, you might be less clear on the steps between your idea and product distribution, particularly the technical steps such as printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing.
However, understanding these intermediate steps and the role they play can empower you to make more informed and confident decisions about your product design. In the case of products that run on PCB technology, the prototype step is particularly crucial — as we’ll discuss in this blog.
Allows for User Testing and Feedback
Many first-time product creators mistakenly assume that the only time and place for user testing is after the product is complete. However, truly successful products undergo many rounds of user testing and feedback as possible.
Before you have a prototype, you can only get feedback on the idea rather than the product itself. While your idea may garner enthusiasm, it may not secure financial backing or guarantee future purchases.
When you let users interact with a working version of your product, you have the opportunity to receive genuine feedback and potential endorsements. If you’re working with a team of developers, then this feedback can help you narrow down your exact goals for this specific product so that the item meets your target audience’s needs.
Creates the Opportunity for Professional Collaboration
If you don’t have experience with product development, then you will likely work with a PCB manufacturing company to develop your prototype. This decision is a wise investment of both your time and product development funds as the partnership allows you to collaborate with an industry expert.
In this situation, you have the opportunity to describe what you would like to accomplish with your product in detail and discuss your options for realizing your vision with an experienced professional.
In addition to collaboration specific to the PCB design, this partnership gives you the opportunity to talk to experienced professionals about product appearance, functionality, and other important characteristics that can set your final product apart from similar products on the market.
Enables Complete System Compatibility Testing
Electronic systems are complex. Even with modern advances, connecting multiple pieces of equipment can sometimes have unpredictable results. Even if every other aspect of your product is ready to hit production, you must first combine all the components including the PCB.
Integrating a working PCB prototype into your product allows your manufacturer to check for complete compatibility and eliminate all the basic bugs that might drive customers toward your competitors when your product hits the market. Compatibility testing may include checks that the device performs all desired functions and charges appropriately.
Offers the Choice to Compare Multiple PCB Versions
In some cases, the first prototype doesn’t work perfectly, and a second version must be created. This process may repeat several times until all of the physical and design issues are resolved on the PCB.
In addition to the basics of ensuring that your PCB completes its primary functions, the prototyping process gives you the opportunity to compare multiple versions of the PCB should you choose to do so. This option can be useful if the PCB exhibits minor quirks that can’t be fixed or you want to have users try out two versions of the product that focus on different functions.
If you want to shoot for multiple comparable prototypes, discuss your goals with your PCB manufacturer to ensure that this process is compatible with their policies and your contract.
Provides Visual and Tangible Aids for Funding Efforts
Perhaps the most important benefit of the prototype process in today’s competitive product market is the opportunity it provides to give potential investors a clear picture of what you hope to achieve.
Your prototype allows you to create demonstrations for investor meeting presentations as well as tangible user tests for potential investors. In some cases, your PCB manufacturer may be able to create duplicates of the same prototype so that multiple potential investors can examine the product simultaneously.
Even if you don’t have the structure set up for an investor meeting, having a video demonstrating a working prototype of your product can dramatically improve your ability to crowdfund.
The full realization of your product idea truly begins with an effective prototype. Partner with a reputable PCB prototype manufacturer to ensure that this critical step affords you all of the advantages listed above and provides the support you and your product need during the rest of the manufacturing process.
For expert PCB services, including comprehensive engineering work from conception to completion, trust the experienced team at Streamline Circuits. Contact us today for more information.